At a job interview, the interviewers will be looking for education, experience and certain qualities that will make you an asset to the company, but before you even open your mouth, how you are dressed and your general appearance will say a lot about you and could be the difference between getting the job and getting another one of those familiar refusal letters telling you that “unfortunately you have not been selected as the standard of applications this year was very high…” So here are some tips to help you decide what you will wear and how you will present yourself.
Firstly, you should determine how formal the interview will be as different industries having different standards. Not all interviews are shirt and tie affairs, although it is best to err on the side of caution as people will judge you more harshly for underdressing than they will for overdressing. If you are very unsure about the dress code, it’s perfectly acceptable to email ahead of time to enquire.
Formal Men’s Attire
For formal, professional interviews, men should always wear a suit in a solid colour such as black or navy, paired with a white shirt or a shirt that matches the suit (its lining, for example). Belt and shoes should match and shoes should be formal suit shoes. Trainers or other casual footwear are a big no-no for formal interviews. If you do want to inject some colour into the outfit, you could wear bright-coloured socks as these will only be glimpsed at most and may give you a more image-conscious appearance, without being over the top. Hair should be neat and facial hair should be shaven or trimmed to look neat.
Formal Women’s Attire
Women have a little more choice when it comes to dressing for a formal interview. A suit should be worn, with either suit trousers or a skirt. As with men, the suit should be in a solid colour and the skirt should be an appropriate length for a professional situation. A blouse should be chosen to complement the colour of the suit and the woman’s colouring and hair. Opt for conservative, classy shoes rather than killer heels or overly casual options like sandals. Any jewellery or make-up worn should be tasteful and subtle and nails should be well manicured.
You don’t want to rule yourself out of the running for a job just by dressing badly, so put some time and effort into choosing an appropriate outfit for the interview. If you look smart, your interviewers will start off with a better impression and are more likely to rate you favourably, so how you dress could get you the job over someone who put less thought into their presentation.